The manager for Michael Schumacher has confirmed that the seven-time Formula One World Champion is no longer in a coma and has left a hospital in Grenoble, France where he has been receiving treatment since his ski accident last December.
In a statement, Sabine Kehm said the racing legend would now “continue his long phase of rehabilitation” and said that it would “take place away from the public eye.”
However, the Associated Press received confirmation that Schumacher is now at the Lausanne University Hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland from a hospital spokesperson there. Schumacher and his family live in the country.
Kehm added that his family “would like to explicitly thank all his treating doctors, nurses and therapists in Grenoble as well as the first aiders at the place of the accident, who did an excellent job in those first months.”
The family also expressed its gratitude to “all the people who have sent Michael the many good wishes … We are sure it helped him.”
Schumacher suffered a severe head injury during his Dec. 29, 2013 ski accident at the Meribel resort in the French Alps after he fell and hit his head on a rock. After arriving in Grenoble, he was placed into a coma by doctors and underwent several surgeries.
In January of this year, it was announced that doctors had begun the “waking up” process for Schumacher. However, official updates had been few and far between, leading to widespread media speculation about his health.
But this morning’s news should be very heartening for his colleagues in the paddock and the millions of race fans around the world that have kept Schumacher in their thoughts since his accident.
Both Ferrari (where Schumacher won five of his seven championships) and Mercedes (where Schumacher ended his brilliant career) have called such news “encouraging” on their respective Twitter pages:
Valtteri Bottas is confident of scoring a good result in tomorrow’s Russian Grand Prix after qualifying third at the Sochi Autodrom on Saturday.
Bottas finished as the ‘best of the rest’ in Q3 behind the leading Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, beating the Ferrari drivers to secure P3 for the start of tomorrow’s race.
After a difficult run of form, Bottas believes that he can capitalize on this good qualifying result and make the most of the Williams car’s suitability to the track in Sochi.
“It was a strong job by the team today,” Bottas said. “We managed to set-up the car well and maximize our performance.
“I felt very good in the car all day and managed to get in a rhythm quickly and put in consistent lap times despite the limited number of laps we had completed in practice.
“Tomorrow is where it really matters but I have put myself in a very good position to capitalize.”
Bottas’ teammate, Felipe Massa, was less impressive in qualifying as a mistake and traffic caused him to drop out in Q2, finishing P15.
“I made a mistake at turn eight in my first timed lap in Q2, and then in my final two attempts I came up against a lot of traffic which lost me a lot of time,” Massa explained.
“On my final run my tires were gone at the rear and that was the end of my chances. It’s a shame and I’m very disappointed, but I have a quick car around here so we need to have a good strategy and use our pace to move up into the points tomorrow.”
The Russian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 6:30am ET on Sunday.
Alexander Rossi claimed his third win in as many GP2 Series rounds in Saturday’s feature race at the Sochi Autodrom.
Since winning the last feature race at Monza in Italy, Rossi has made his Formula 1 debut with Manor and also raced for the team at the iconic Suzuka Circuit in Japan.
As part of his deal with Manor, Rossi has returned to GP2 for this weekend’s round in Russia as he bids to finish as runner-up to impending series champion Stoffel Vandoorne.
Vandoorne was expected to be crowned champion on Saturday, but Rossi managed to delay the Belgian’s celebrations by storming to victory as darkness forced officials to shorten the race.
Carnage on the first lap saw four drivers retire from the race, with damage caused to the barrier at turn 3 by Jordan King resulted in a 30 minute red flag delay.
Once the race restarted, a shortened distance of 15 laps was confirmed, but full points were still to be awarded.
Pole-sitter Alex Lynn managed to pull clear through the first stint, and after falling behind Rossi in the first round of pit stops, the DAMS driver regained the advantage soon after.
However, when Lynn crashed out, Rossi was able to pull clear of the chasing Pierre Gasly and Vandoorne just behind to record his third win in as many race weekends by three seconds.
Rossi will start tomorrow’s sprint race from eighth place on the grid which is reversed, handing pole to Frenchman Arthur Pic who finished P8 on Saturday.
You will be able to read all about Alexander’s success in his exclusive NBC Sports blog on Wednesday. To read his pre-Sochi thoughts, click here.